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How big of an issue is the Spark fly-away problem?
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16225 61 2017-10-5
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Sambanova
lvl.1

Australia
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I just ordered a DJI Spark and hadn't heard of the problem until I had access to these forums. Is a flyaway something I should expect? I didn't get the DJI Care package, am I covered at all if it flies away or is it see ya later?
2017-10-5
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Anuvis
First Officer
Flight distance : 1824783 ft
Greece
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I have 30 hours of flight and 300 km in distance and I have until now zero flyaway.They are some problem with the image transmission such as poor signal disconnect etc...The max distance in Europe is not that they advertise....I have these problems will be solved in future update....Gi ahead and don't be afraid.  If the drone on take off records successfully your homepoint it is certain that in a disconnect will come back to you
2017-10-5
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Anuvis
First Officer
Flight distance : 1824783 ft
Greece
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Dji care covers everything BUT in order to claim it YOU MUST HAVE THE drone.. If you lost it you can not activate care refresh...
2017-10-5
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DronerX
lvl.3
Flight distance : 488192 ft
United States
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There was a survey done on this forum some time back, and if I remember correctly it was something like 10% of the flyers had the issue.  We've had several firmware/app updates since then as well.  I've personally never had an issue.
2017-10-5
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FatherXmas
Captain
Flight distance : 4058619 ft
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United States
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107 flights, 11 and a half hours in the air and zero problems.
2017-10-5
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Aeromirage
Captain
Flight distance : 1778045 ft
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United States
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Zero issues here after several hundred flights.
Watch out for warnings, particularly compass related or GPS.
Do not turn it on near metal. (20 feet or more away from Car)
Mine does 'disconnect' often, but I still have control through RC.
I would never try to fly it with a phone.
2017-10-5
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Charles Adams
Second Officer
Flight distance : 294528 ft
United States
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There have been a number of "fly aways" reported here in the forums, and in most cases we have been able to identify how the pilot contributed to the circumstances which resulted in the fly away.  Sometimes these pilots have not been happy that their contribution was evident and identified (some take it quite personal).

We have seen many cases where a pilot flies his craft out of "line of site", and then the craft loses gps and goes to atti mode.  This is a terrible situation, because if the craft loses gps the pilot's eyes become the guidance system.  No eyes on Spark, no guidance.

We have seen some cases where a pilot ignores early flight warnings of compass issues, and flies anyways.  A good rule of thumb is to respect any warnings which occur before or during flight, and take steps to correct whatever is causing those warnings.

We have seen some cases where a pilot flies near an object which can cause compass disruptions (power lines, parking garages, etc).  A good rule of thumb is to keep some distance between craft and man made objects.  This varies case by case, but flying close to power lines or buildings with lots of metal is not a good idea.

We have seen some cases where a pilot flies in adverse weather conditions.  This is not necessarily bad judgement, but if a person doesn't have a lot of experience, this increases the possibility of a poor flight (and a fly away).

We have seen many cases where it is evident that a pilot ignored local regulations.  Many pilots take liberties and get away with it, but we have had instances where we were clearly able to draw a direct correlation between a bad flight and an ignored regulation.

You as the pilot can make choices which have significant impacts on the risks of a fly away.  Some choices can increase the risk.  If you create a good pre-flight checklist, follow the regulations, and remain cognizant of your skill level while flying, odds are extremely high that you will never experience a fly away.
2017-10-5
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I am Sparkacus
lvl.4
Flight distance : 94626 ft
United Kingdom
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When I first got my Spark I read the manual (I know not very manly). Went out to my paddock and took off without any cares in the world! Managed about 10 flights without any single issue flying up to 200m away and often up to about 80m in height. Then the problems started.  I FOUND THIS FORUM!  I read about the ‘fly aways’ And it totally spoiled my experience. I was convinced at each and every subsequent flight it may be my last with Sparkie.  But then I though ‘get over it’, it was the best decision I could make. I have never had a single warning show up or anything and I took confidence from that. I am cautious whilst flying but that is just common sense.

Now I love my Spark again and really enjoying the whole experience!

I would suggest take precautions be vigilant and ENJOY!
2017-10-5
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Wachtberger
Captain
Flight distance : 261509 ft
Germany
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Charles Adams Posted at 2017-10-5 19:24
There have been a number of "fly aways" reported here in the forums, and in most cases we have been able to identify how the pilot contributed to the circumstances which resulted in the fly away.  Sometimes these pilots have not been happy that their contribution was evident and identified (some take it quite personal).

We have seen many cases where a pilot flies his craft out of "line of site", and then the craft loses gps and goes to atti mode.  This is a terrible situation, because if the craft loses gps the pilot's eyes become the guidance system.  No eyes on Spark, no guidance.

I fully second this assessment. From all what I have read and seen so far I can not see a "standard pattern" of the Spark flying away or crashing, but always very individual circumstances in the cases reported here. There certainly can be malfunctions as well, but there again I can not see a general pattern.
2017-10-6
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Adomolis
lvl.3
Flight distance : 58698 ft
Ireland
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Anuvis Posted at 2017-10-5 14:45
Dji care covers everything BUT in order to claim it YOU MUST HAVE THE drone.. If you lost it you can not activate care refresh...

flyaways are caused by a defect, which is covered even if you dont have dji care refresh.
2017-10-6
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ACW
Captain
Flight distance : 11526437 ft
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United Kingdom
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If the drone malfunctions and crashes due to a manufacturer defect and you recover the drone to be sent back then this is covered by DJI's standard 12 month warranty. If you have a fly away and lose the drone (not recovered, total loss) this will not be covered by the warranty or even care refresh as it's a condition that the drone is returned for physical diagnostics. I have never experienced a fly away with any of my drones, including the Spark. Read the manuals and follow the correct calibrations, preflight checks and firmware updates, keep it in VLOS and away from electromagnetic interference and you will be fine. Fly it near pylons, telephone masts or in built up areas with heavy WiFi noise and you may experience the pain of watching £500 disappear in front of your eyes and beyond your control. It seems the fly away issue has been settled down a lot with recent firmware updates but in the majority of cases, it is caused by pilot error and individuals not preparing the drone or themselves properly for flight.
2017-10-6
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djiuser_xLE6O03
Second Officer
Flight distance : 542986 ft
Romania
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Active Flights: 92 . only one with compass error +exit gps .
2017-10-6
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Charles Adams
Second Officer
Flight distance : 294528 ft
United States
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The issue I think was of higher importance (and most likely related to product issues and not pilot issues) was the unexpected spark drops (literally falling from the sky).  DJI never publicly announced that the issue was real, though they announced a mandatory upgrade to fix "safety and stability" issues.  Since that mandatory update, the forums have had much less reports of drops, though there have been less than a handful of post-update drops reported.  The press and people here in the forums (including me) drew the inference that this mandatory update was to fix the drops.

This is one instance where I've been a DJI critic.  I think DJI should have made a direct announcement.  I was never a fan of DJI's evaluation of the logs of such instances (where the logs abruptly stop).

I bring this up because the "fly aways" are almost always under pilot influence and control, but the drops have been less so.  It's important to only fly over areas where one can legally go to obtain the craft, and it's important to gain confidence in the craft before flying in an environment where it might be difficult or impossible to retrieve the spark if it should drop (over a lake, dense forest, etc).  I must stress that the spontaneous drops really do seem to have been mitigated by the most recent firmware update, but there's still been some reports.
2017-10-6
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InkedUpDad.com
lvl.3
Flight distance : 55276 ft
United States
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50 flights and no errors or fly aways.
2017-10-6
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Catalin Ene
lvl.1
Flight distance : 287215 ft
Romania
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I had no flyaway problems with any drone since Phantom 4 and I fly quite a bit. You should try connecting and OTG cable to it.
2017-10-6
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El Diablo
First Officer

Germany
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Tip: the author has been banned or deleted automatically shield
2017-10-6
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Sasquad
First Officer
Flight distance : 319245 ft
United States
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99.999999% of them are pilot error. You'll be fine. Enjoy and start small.
2017-10-6
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JCStorbeck
lvl.3
Flight distance : 1134318 ft
United States
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Got Spark on 9 September 17.  As of this morning 124 Flights 13 Hours and 39 Minutes, 119,755 meters flown.  Longest flight 7,021 meters.  Top altitude 39.3 Meters.  Furthest distance from controller pushing about 3,000 meters.   I've flown primarily over water, like to keep it higher up, but I'm training for low level  for the spring visit of Gray Whales to the beach and am trying to get good enough to capture footage of the in various modes that I will probably have to fly myself since I don't think I will able to get a lock on the whales as they go under water.   Learn to fly and push your skills as you get better, the Spark has a lot of capability and with all tech it can have problems.  I would recommend dialing things back after an update to Software or Firmware and keep reading posts on the forum.  We are all Beta Testing things in this new agile world we live in!  Safe and Fun flying!!!
2017-10-6
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Fafawong
New
Flight distance : 12913 ft
Hong Kong
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My spark flew away after 1 min in the air when we travelled to Japan.  We flew it twice on the same day after re-calibration compass without any problem.  Third time it flew away, initially it said compass error, then suggested to switch to ATTI, not long after it said weak GPS.  I tried RTH a few times but failed.  Eventually it flew away and was not seen ever again.  Case reported to DJI and they admitted there was a compass error.  Gave us a coupon to get a brand new one for free.  I bought our spark just after it came out, I wonder if this problem is now fixed in later batches.  In any event, after this experience, I have doubts about the safety and reliability of this drone.  Some people may never encounter a problem but u'll never know if u have received a lemon until one day it decides to fly away...
2017-11-14
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Ryan's Sparky
Second Officer
Flight distance : 302316 ft
Norway
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there will undoubtedly always be faulty malfunctioning components from anything thats sold on such a large scale. if you follow the guide lines, do your checks and fly as it is intended to be flown you shouldn't have any issues.
2017-11-17
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muntos
lvl.4
Flight distance : 23468 ft
Germany
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I really don't understand a thing in this "fly away" problem... What is the relation between GPS and WIFI interference or other interference ? If Spark has GPS signal (and I don't see why it wouldn't have in 99% percent of time in an open area) and at the beginning of flight it successfully recorded it's Home Point location, why it wouldn't be able to return Home? Why it would fly away, why, as long it can get GPS coordinates it wouldn't be able to return even with compass/IMU, etc error ?
2017-11-17
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JJBspark
Captain
Flight distance : 1588317 ft
Netherlands
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Spark needs GPS and a working compass system to be able to RTH. Any problem with the compass system and the SPARK will disable that system, enters in ATTI and you have to fly the drone yourself.
Within 1 second Spark is in ATTI, so its a challenge for the operator to have full control especially when its far from its homepoint....

2017-11-17
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muntos
lvl.4
Flight distance : 23468 ft
Romania
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But why is a working compass needed if GPS is available? To my knowledge going from point A to B using GPS coordinates is all you need. Ok, maybe would be harder to orientate without the compass, but I do believe is manageable to reach homepoint, anyway better than entering in Atti and fly away.
2017-11-17
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hallmark007
Captain
Flight distance : 4802917 ft
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Ireland
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muntos Posted at 2017-11-17 06:57
I really don't understand a thing in this "fly away" problem... What is the relation between GPS and WIFI interference or other interference ? If Spark has GPS signal (and I don't see why it wouldn't have in 99% percent of time in an open area) and at the beginning of flight it successfully recorded it's Home Point location, why it wouldn't be able to return Home? Why it would fly away, why, as long it can get GPS coordinates it wouldn't be able to return even with compass/IMU, etc error ?

If you don’t have a working IMU your AC will just turn over.
2017-11-17
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Ardenno
Second Officer
Flight distance : 1773924 ft
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Ireland
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70km once compass error but I love fly in atti mode.
2017-11-18
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muntos
lvl.4
Flight distance : 23468 ft
Germany
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Another question regarding this subject: when you say the drone loose GPS any fly away, where exactly does it fly ? Does it have a conscious of his own and decide to go in some random direction, without the user's input ?
2017-11-20
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_KERBEROS_
Second Officer
Flight distance : 98179 ft
Spain
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muntos Posted at 2017-11-20 07:24
Another question regarding this subject: when you say the drone loose GPS any fly away, where exactly does it fly  ? Does it have a conscious of his own and decide to go in some random direction, without the user's input ?

Good question!
2017-11-20
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S-e-ven
Captain
Flight distance : 3810279 ft
Thailand
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The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

2017-11-20
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lauspark
lvl.1
Flight distance : 100541 ft
Australia
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Fafawong Posted at 2017-11-14 20:30
My spark flew away after 1 min in the air when we travelled to Japan.  We flew it twice on the same day after re-calibration compass without any problem.  Third time it flew away, initially it said compass error, then suggested to switch to ATTI, not long after it said weak GPS.  I tried RTH a few times but failed.  Eventually it flew away and was not seen ever again.  Case reported to DJI and they admitted there was a compass error.  Gave us a coupon to get a brand new one for free.  I bought our spark just after it came out, I wonder if this problem is now fixed in later batches.  In any event, after this experience, I have doubts about the safety and reliability of this drone.  Some people may never encounter a problem but u'll never know if u have received a lemon until one day it decides to fly away...

It happened to me yesterday , I had the spark for 6 months and have been very happy with it. But yester I had the same problem with compass and gps signal and couldn’t control and flew away. I have contacted dji and gave them all the information they asked for and hopefully they will give me a new one , I even bought the dji care
2017-12-26
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lauspark
lvl.1
Flight distance : 100541 ft
Australia
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Fafawong Posted at 2017-11-14 20:30
My spark flew away after 1 min in the air when we travelled to Japan.  We flew it twice on the same day after re-calibration compass without any problem.  Third time it flew away, initially it said compass error, then suggested to switch to ATTI, not long after it said weak GPS.  I tried RTH a few times but failed.  Eventually it flew away and was not seen ever again.  Case reported to DJI and they admitted there was a compass error.  Gave us a coupon to get a brand new one for free.  I bought our spark just after it came out, I wonder if this problem is now fixed in later batches.  In any event, after this experience, I have doubts about the safety and reliability of this drone.  Some people may never encounter a problem but u'll never know if u have received a lemon until one day it decides to fly away...


http://Melbourne
CECED645-0406-41C8-AA87-0AE3612B8256.png
2017-12-26
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Cameron Dasso
lvl.2
Flight distance : 6115 ft
United States
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First post on DJI forums...

I have been flying RC planes helis and quads for many years and just recently decided to get into the photography stuff and bought a Mavic Pro and a Spark. Of course I read the current posts and sticky threads on both forums and watched untold videos on YouTube.

I have to say after reading the Spark forum in particular it makes me want to put it in the closet or sell it and just get a selfie drone and fly just my Mavic. All of the talk about DJI not publishing known issues, conflicting information and drones just flying away is a bit disconcerting. I don't see much of this on the Mavic forum but it seems to be pretty constant here. Also lots of arguing and chastising. Just a newbie observation.

Best I can tell, the people having the most issues are trying to fly the Spark really high or a long way away or are not fully understanding how the thing works or even bother to read the directions. I see that some have had issues close in but I think I will just stick to the Mavic for the longer excursions and just use the Spark for tracking and other close in stuff and just having fun flying it around in close. I am actually an advanced RC pilot of all types and fly FPV a lot with Micro drone racers but I suppose if you are half a mile away with no video your are pretty much screwed no matter how good your "Atti" skills are.
2017-12-26
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Howdy2u2
lvl.3
Flight distance : 1827 ft
United States
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Cameron Dasso Posted at 2017-12-26 14:11
First post on DJI forums...

I have been flying RC planes helis and quads for many years and just recently decided to get into the photography stuff and bought a Mavic Pro and a Spark. Of course I read the current posts and sticky threads on both forums and watched untold videos on YouTube.

Not the same flight experience as yourself, but I feel the same way. Every hour it seems there is another "fly away" post. When those who have this happen and post their logs/ flight info, YAW or compass error is plastered in the "message" section of the logs. So I guess until this is figured out the Spark sits in the box and I fly something else until then. (If the weather would cooperate around here) I have purchased the "refresh" but pretty much worthless at this point if it flies away never to be found.
Hind site: I suppose I should have checked the forums before purchase, too late now though.   
2018-1-1
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Aga
lvl.2
Flight distance : 161535 ft
Australia
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Well .. please tell me what was my error then. Had few flights before my spark decided to find a better home and chose opposite direction on RTH. In my case that was the ocean. Briefly - no drone, no help from DJI even if you have care refresh.
2018-1-1
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Timsierramist
lvl.2
Flight distance : 46299 ft
United States
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Happened to me on New Years Eve flying my drone in a clear line of sight at 0.3 miles away.
2018-1-1
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Raelian
First Officer
Flight distance : 111204 ft
Australia
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Downgrading to an earlier firmware version has solved my "Weak GPS Signal' errors. Worth a try for anyone else who is experiencing this annoying problem.
2018-1-2
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realdeal
lvl.4
Flight distance : 37680 ft
France
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Anuvis Posted at 2017-10-5 14:45
Dji care covers everything BUT in order to claim it YOU MUST HAVE THE drone.. If you lost it you can not activate care refresh...

warranty covers the fly away if the manufacture can not prove it was a user end issue, as  in my case.
2018-1-27
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realdeal
lvl.4
Flight distance : 37680 ft
France
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Aga Posted at 2018-1-1 20:18
Well .. please tell me what was my error then. Had few flights before my spark decided to find a better home and chose opposite direction on RTH. In my case that was the ocean. Briefly - no drone, no help from DJI even if you have care refresh.

Some times the GPS location moves in water areas,  in my case DJI concealed what the alerts from my drone where  as they turned out to be autopilot alerts signalling that the drone was no longer obeying the remote and flew off.
read the email and decide foryosuenf if a manufacture of a car, drone or other vehicle is the responsibility of the manufacture if the driver or pilot is not at fault, the sympton is called MALFUNCTION, if the manufacture has no explination they are by default responsible for your product under warranty as well as liable for any incidents caused with public safety concerns.

Dear Customer,





Thanks for getting back to us.


We really want to figure out why the aircraft didn’t return to home and the cause of the incident. Because if it’s pilot error, we want to give advice to the customers and also if it’s not, we want to improve our products.


However for this case, the cause was not recorded.


The aircraft showed no signs of a manufacturing defect or malfunction. Since we did not find any conclusive information to explain the detail of the incident, a 30% discount was offered.


We are sorry about the frustrating experience you have had. We assure you we do not deliver this result lightly. We carefully examined your case, and are confident the data assessment is accurate.


If we could help to get higher discount, there is no reason why I don’t do that for you. For this case, 30% off for Spark(Alpine White) is already the best offer for you based on the analysis result while obeying the warranty policy.  


We have offered you the 30% discount, as a sincere gesture of our apology. You are not obligated to re-order the lost product, but if you choose to do so, we are here to help.


Please consider if you need the 30% off coupon offer and get back to us in a month if you need it. Thanks.


Again, we apologize for your loss.






Best Regards,


Evelyn
DJI Tech Support
http://www.dji.com/


Again, if you dont know then your responsible for producing the product!
2018-1-27
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Bright Spark
First Officer
Flight distance : 22129 ft
United Kingdom
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Well not so good. Sorry for loss.
But generally flyaway problems are the most feared I think.
GPS moving on water is new to me. I need an expert to comment.
Wild guess tells me that maybe signals bounce on the waters surface and are received corrupted and undecipherable.
DJI advise not to fly over water I believe.  Who knows?
2018-1-27
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fans1af1a0a5
lvl.2
Flight distance : 81293 ft
Croatia
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Raelian Posted at 2018-1-2 01:25
Downgrading to an earlier firmware version has solved my "Weak GPS Signal' errors. Worth a try for anyone else who is experiencing this annoying problem.

Which firmware version is most stable?
2018-2-9
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fans1af1a0a5
lvl.2
Flight distance : 81293 ft
Croatia
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Raelian Posted at 2018-1-2 01:25
Downgrading to an earlier firmware version has solved my "Weak GPS Signal' errors. Worth a try for anyone else who is experiencing this annoying problem.

Which firmware version is most stable?
2018-2-9
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